Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery Program

You can help save salmon and get paid to do it by going fishing! The Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery Program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, is in effect annually on the Columbia and Snake rivers from May 1 through Sept. 30. Anglers are paid for each northern pikeminnow that they catch that is 9 inches or larger, and the more fish you catch, the higher the reward. Rewards begin at $5 each for the first 25 northern pikeminnow caught during the season. Anglers earn $6 each for fish between 26 and 200, and $8 each for every fish caught above 200. Specially tagged northern pikeminnow are worth $500.

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).

Northern pikeminnow eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year in the Columbia and Snake River systems. The goal of the program is not to eliminate northern pikeminnow, but rather to reduce the average size and curtail the number of larger, older fish. Reducing the number of these predators can greatly help salmon and steelhead juveniles making it out to sea.

In 2017, the top 20 anglers caught an average of about 3,530 fish per angler and averaged reward payments of $30,000 each for the 5-month season. The highest-paid angler in 2017 caught 10,277 fish and earned $83,877. BPA funds the Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery to partially mitigate for the impact of the Federal Columbia River hydroelectric system on salmon and steelhead. Results indicate that the Pikeminnow Program is successful. Since 1991, over 4.77 million Northern Pikeminnow have been removed by the Sport-Reward Fishery and predation on juvenile salmonids has been reduced by an estimated 40 percent.

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